ATF bust nets 189 guns, dozens of arrests in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ATF bust nets 189 guns, dozens of arrests in Savannah

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Alderwoman Carol Bell Alderwoman Carol Bell

One Savannah alderwoman says the joint federal-local gun and drug bust announced Wednesday is evidence Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett is doing his job.

Lovett said in a news conference announcing the bust that he's come under fire from his superiors who wanted to know what he was doing about the city's crime -- who wanted to know when the federal law enforcement help they'd been promised would arrive. The chief says it was there all along, but he couldn't talk about the undercover operation without compromising it.

"I understand the police chief's sentiment when he said sometimes he just had to take the hits because he understands what was going on but he could not tell the community until the time was right," Alderwoman Carol Bell said.

It was dubbed Operation Pulaski, after Revolutionary war hero Casimir Pulaski... For whom Fort Polaski was named. It started in 2011 with what the ATF describes as "old fashioned policing" -- undercover operations targeting known criminals.

Federal indictments in the case were unsealed Wednesday, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms announced that 189 guns had been seized in the investigation and warrants filed for the arrest of 36 suspects – 26 of them convicted felons.

Nine of the suspects are at large.

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